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From Coastal View & Moors News Issue 52 October-November 2014

Cleveland Coast Under Ground Coal Risk

By Councillor Dr Tristan Learoyd

People are familiar with gas tracking, where high pressure is exerted underground to force deep lying gas to the surface.

But how many know about Under Ground Coal (UGC). a method that involves setting fire to underground coal? The fumes are then draw to the surface and burned for energy. The method claims to be carbon neutral as the carbon dioxide produced from the burning of the gases produced is pumped back into the underground cavern where the coal was set on fire. A form of carbon capture. Allegedly. Many trials of the technique in Australia- have failed.

The leakage risk from UCG is immense. Any lssure in the rock above where the coal was originally burnt can lead to the leaching of toxic chemicals. Even worse any weakness in the earth's crust or surface erosion can lead to explosions.

It is therefore a horrific prospect that first licences granted to explore UGG are at sites located just north of the Tees estuary. Adjacent to the Hartlepool nuclear power plant. Looking out from Redcar Beach the whole area marked tör testing UGC and associated cabhon capture storage cail be seen behind the wind turbines of Coatham.

Marske Green Party Councillor Dr Tristan Learoyd said the prospect of UGC: "Local politicians have been blinded by the prospect ofjobs associated with UGC. But at what price are these jobs? The price of polluted seas and a potential nuclear incident? A concerted British drive towards renewables and sustainable energy would involve more jobs than UCG. The reality is that if the Government and the Labour Party were serious about Climate Change they would have a coherent policy based on renewable energy. But they're not. They're more interested in short term votes and lining the pockets of the wealthy few at the expense of the many.

Further information on UGC and tracking can be found at